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Chapter 9

“Run,” Arianna called.
Logan scrambled over the bridge as she held back the strange boar-like creature that was coming after them. Once over the bridge he spun to see where she was.
“I’m over,” he yelled back, “Come on.”
Arianna let out a blast of energy before she ran over the bridge, once there she placed a barrier on the end of it and leaned over taking several deep breaths.
“Wow, that’s an ugly looking thing,” Logan said as he rested his hand on her shoulder, “You okay?”
“There’s something strange about this place,” she told him, “The energy in the place is weird when I do a spell.”
“Weird how?”
“There’s more energy behind everything I’m doing,” she explained, “It’s just bizarre.”
Logan frowned in thought, “Could it be more the fact you’ve just learnt about your stronger powers?”
“I didn’t think about that,” Arianna mused, “It’s possible. One thing that magic needs is a belief that you can do it. Knowing I have stronger magic than I previously knew more than likely is a factor.”
Logan gave her a quick hug, “So, are we going inside?”
“I think we have to,” Arianna sighed, “It’s not very inviting, is it?”
Logan laughed, “It could use a few homey touches but other than that I think I could live there.”

The hall they entered once they walked through the large doors was massive and both Logan and Arianna let out a gasp.
“Be careful what you touch,” Arianna told him, “And do not go exploring alone. If we get split up we may never find one another again and I’m your only way home.”
“Trust me, Ari,” Logan said, “I’m going to be glued to your side.”
“What did you just call me?”
Logan shrugged, “You don’t like it?”
“No, it’s not that,” she breathed, “No one has ever called me anything other than my name.”
Logan gently drew his hand along her cheek again, “Ari.”
She let out a shuddering breath before regaining her focus, “We need to find these stones, Logan. Can we get into this later?”
“Okay,” Logan said, “Let’s go.”
Arianna took his hand and squeezed it quickly, “Okay, let me do the guidance spell again. That should hopefully tell us which way to go.”
Logan nodded and stood waiting once more as Arianna worked her magic, as the light moved out from her Logan cried out in astonishment as he was pushed back by the force of the spell.
“Are you okay?” Arianna gasped moving to his side.
Logan nodded, “I think your magic is getting stronger.”

The musty smell of the Keep tickled at Arianna’s nose but she decided against doing any sort of spell in case she accidentally removed one of their noses. She was quite amazed by how much power she’d discovered she seemed to suddenly have, it almost scared her but there was also this amazing feeling that she could do things she’d never have dreamed of before now. Glancing to her side where Logan walked she wondered why he was here, why he seemed to care for her because guys who looked like that normally never looked at someone like her twice. Logan had told her he wanted to be with her through this and Arianna wished that she could see the future to see what to do, if they actually managed to survive, about this relationship.
“Do you hear that?” Logan asked as they walked along a corridor.
Arianna winced as she turned to find their way back blocked, “Looks like we can only go forward.”
“Sure,” Logan frowned.
Arianna laughed softly, “I told you this wasn’t going to be easy. We have to keep going forward and that way we’ll find our way out.”
“Somehow that isn’t making me feel any better,” Logan told her.
Arianna was about to say something else before she grabbed his arm, “Get down.”
Logan dropped to the floor as ordered amazed as two balls of energy came flying along the corridor, he heard them sizzle as they passed overhead before they disappeared through the wall.
“That was unusual,” Logan noted as he stood up before helping Arianna to her feet, smiling as she brushed off her trousers and a cloud of dust flew up making her cough.
“Gatekeepers,” she explained, “We’ll probably run into them quite a lot.”
“And they’ll do what exactly?”
“Who knows,” Arianna shrugged, “Freeze you, send you somewhere else in the keep or even fry you.”
“You really know how to make a guy feel safe,” Logan told her wryly.
“We need to keep moving,” she reminded him, “Come on.”

“Holston,” Davin stared at the man who was strolling through the shop, “What do you want?”
“I want the stones and Arianna,” Holston told him.
“Neither are here,” Davin replied sharply, “So come back tomorrow.”
Holston laughed, “Now why don’t I believe you, Davin. Oh that’s right, your Arianna’s father figure. Tell me where she is and I’ll leave.”
“She’s finding the other two stones,” Davin answered truthfully, “And once she comes back she’s gunning to find you and, well let’s just say it’s not something you’ll like happening.”
“Arianna is one of those people who couldn’t hurt another human being,” Holston laughed at him, “She’s soft-hearted and can’t hurt a fly.”
“What happened to you earlier?” Davin asked, “Where did you end up?”
Holston glared at him, “I’m not sure how you managed to get her out of that but trust me I won’t make the same mistake twice.”
“No, you’ll make all kinds of new ones,” Davin laughed at him, “Now get out of my shop.”
Holston moved closer to Davin, “Make me.”
Davin simply smiled back and flicked his hand setting off the potions he’d set around the shop for this precise event. Holston cried out as he was thrown out of the shop. Davin stood behind the barrier and smiled at him.
“Try coming back in and see what happens,” Davin told him.
“You can’t stay in there forever,” Holston snarled, “And when you leave I’ll be waiting.”
“I hope so,” Davin said before slamming the door.

Laurie climbed down the ladders, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” he assured her, “I dealt with people like that for most of my career as a Peacekeeper without trouble. Holston likes to make believe he’s a big man but I’ve read his file and he’s not.”
Laurie grimaced, “And you’re sure that you can handle him?”
Davin rested his hand on her shoulder, “Trust me, Laurie. There is no way he can get into this shop.”
“What about the bar?”
“Before she left Arianna set up a link between the rift here and the rift under the bar,” Davin explained to her, “We don’t have to set foot outside either door until this is over.”
“So we’re phoning for dinner then?” Laurie smiled slightly at him.
“Menus are in the drawer in the office,” he replied, “So, did you find the volumes?”
“I’ve got one,” she told him, “I’ll go see if I can find the other two.”
Davin nodded and turned back to work.

Arianna stared across the ravine trying to work out how to get them across. Her basic problem was the fact she didn’t have the knowledge of spells for the level of magic required in the Keep. She’d been trained as a green sorcerer but trained to the lowest level.
Arianna turned to where Logan was leaning against the wall, “I’m thinking.”
He nodded and said nothing else as she turned back to staring at the chasm. Arianna sighed and turned back to him.
“The problem is I don’t have the right level of experience for something like this,” she explained, “I’m going over in mind my every lesson I ever had. Unfortunately I’m pretty sure this wasn’t covered.”
“I believe you can do this,” Logan told her, “Tor and Davin believe you can do this,” She sighed again and Logan wrapped his arms around her, “All you have to do is do what I know you can.”
She smiled at him accepting the kiss he placed on her lips before she stepped away from him again. Turning to the chasm she murmured a soft spell creating a bright light above the chasm, as the light shone down Arianna smiled to see there were several large pieces of rock at the bottom. Without missing a beat she levitated the largest piece over to them.
“Get on,” she told Logan, “I’ll float you across and then I’ll join you.”
Logan nodded, as he moved to the rock he turned to talk to her when he saw similar balls of light coming towards them as before.
“Ari, you might need to change that plan,” he said urgently.
Arianna spun, “Get on,” she cried before she jumped onto the rock as well, “Oh, I hope this works.”
As she pushed the rock off the ground Arianna had to duck, wincing as she lost control for a second and the boulder lost height.
“This isn’t easy,” she snapped at him, “Just hold on tight and let me do this.”

Logan felt ill as the rock they were using to get to safety kept rocking; Arianna was obviously not at ease doing this as he kept hearing her mutter curses every time something happened. Thankfully he could see the other side getting closer and closer. Finally he could almost touch the side but before he managed to another ball of energy came flying at them. Arianna cried out as it grazed her arm. Logan caught her before she fell, holding on until she managed to get them to safety.
“Let me see,” Logan demanded the moment they were back on solid ground.
Arianna shook her head, “It’s not safe here with those things still whizzing about.”
“It’s probably not very safe out there either,” he reminded her, “Let me check your arm while those things aren’t very close.”
She nodded and pushed her sleeve up wincing as he gently probed the bruised flesh.
“I thought it would be burned,” Logan said, “It just looks a little bruised.”
“It hurts like hell,” she retorted, “I managed to shield my arm slightly before it hit me. Now you’ve seen can we go?”
Logan nodded and let her lead the way.

“Why are you here?”
Logan and Arianna stared at the women standing in the hallway before them, she seemed almost completely grey which was one of the reasons they hadn’t seen her until they were in front of her as she seemed to blend into the walls.
“Why are you here?” she asked again, “You cannot pass until you answer.”
“I’ve been sent to retrieve two precious magical stones that need to be returned,” Arianna spoke up, “I am not here to for anything else.”
“Why are you here?” the woman turned to Logan.
“I’m here to support her,” Logan answered.
The woman smiled and nodded, “This place holds many dangers for you both. I believe that these items you seek are on the other side of the keep. You will need to go through many of the rooms; I will warn you when you enter the rooms do not look at the portraits for too long.”
Arianna shared a look with Logan, “Okay.”
“Once you reach the other side of the Keep then you will enter the Labyrinth,” the woman continued, “You will need all your knowledge and skill to survive.”
“Thank you,” Arianna said.
The woman moved to let them pass, “I will leave you now. Good journey and I hope you manage to fulfil your mission.”
They watched as she walked away before seemingly disappearing into the walls leaving them alone again.
“That was kind of creepy,” Logan noted.
Arianna nodded, “Completely.”
“So what do we do now?”
“We keep going and just heed her warnings,” Arianna said, she nodded forward; “The only thing we can do is enter the room.”
“And not look at the portraits.”

Logan stared unable to remove his eyes from the painting of the bed that sat on the wall; the bed was the exact same one that was sitting in the corner of the room.
“Logan,” Arianna grabbed his arm, “Logan, come on. Remember what the creepy woman said.”
Arianna tried to move him when her own eyes were caught by the painting as well, she tried to pull her eyes away but couldn’t. Voices started in her head and although she tried to fight them she couldn’t. Without warning Logan grabbed her, his mouth pressed to hers as they fell onto the bed. Arianna gasped as Logan’s hands deftly undid her blouse before he caressed her breasts. She couldn’t get enough of how good he tasted and felt. Arianna pulled his t-shirt out of his trousers amazed how fit he was, as her hands strayed down lower a new voice tried to interrupt them.
“You must stop.”
“Don’t stop,” Arianna breathed in Logan’s ear, “Never stop.”
“You both need to stop,” the same voice came urgently, “This is dangerous, this could kill you.”
Arianna gasped arching her back as Logan pressed firmly against her and she continued to try to remove his trousers.
“This could kill you.”
“How,” Logan moaned, “It feels so good.”
Arianna felt a sharp pain in her arm, “What?”
“You must stop,” the grey woman told them, “This is an enchantment and if you do not stop now you will be drained of all energy.”
Breathing heavily Arianna pushed Logan away but he was still caught in the spell and a lot heavier than she was. With a soft murmur she used a spell to move him across the room, wincing as he slammed into the wall.
“What just happened?” he asked a little disorientated.
Arianna buttoned her blouse, “I’ll tell you as soon as we get out of here. Fix yourself first.”
Logan sheepishly pulled his t-shirt back on before fixing his belt.
Once they were both fixed Arianna grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room back into the corridor.

“What happened?”
“It’s a spell that would have used us to generate a lot of magical energy,” Arianna explained as she pushed a hand through her hair.
“By sex?”
“Sex is a very potent source of energy,” Arianna explained, “Especially when it comes to green sorcerers.”
“I’m guessing those who can use black magic would be even more,” Logan told her.
She nodded, “And as good as that seemed to feel...”
“It’ll be better when we’re not under a spell,” Logan finished for her.
“I was actually going to say it’s something that can’t happen,” she replied, “I like you, Logan. In fact I really want that to happen between us properly but for me if I sleep with you I will imprint on you.”
Logan looked at her confused, “What does that mean?”
“Sorcerers are completely monogamous,” she told him as they walked, “Sex doesn’t happen until after marriage because if it happens beforehand then it’s not good.”
Logan sighed, “Sure.”

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